Since then there have been many bright spots, though also a lack of consistency in his performances.
They are still in the relegation scrap and unless they can sign better players, the Magpies will have a nervous time from now until the end of the season.
Antonio Conte was vocal last summer in expressing his frustrations with Chelsea's approach to transfer business. David Luiz started the season as the incumbent in the middle and Cesar Azpilicueta's extraordinary dependability has meant that Rudiger has often found himself vying with club captain Gary Cahill for the third centre-back spot.
Barkley is yet to feature during the 2017-18 campaign but is just the player Antonio Conte needed in west London, according to Wise.
Another way to approach these stories is to look purely from a planning perspective. Simply playing more regularly has helped him find his groove, a solution that doesn't exactly require a rocket scientist to deduce.
"He's not the only one who thinks that either, Antonio Conte has been critical of the quality of his side going forward in recent weeks".
I know, I know, it ain't big, it ain't clever and it ain't pleasant, but it's certainly an intriguing circus sideshow in the one-horse race that is the Premier League. Chelsea are, thus, keeping their options open, with a number of managers being on the shortlist to replace Conte, the latest being compatriot Allegri.
"They're completely out of their minds". He was cleared by a criminal court in 2016.
Chelsea are an exception to that, with Conte eager to bring the 6 ft 4in frontman on board before the January transfer window closes.
Opportunities have once again been limited for Batshuayi, meanwhile. All three would represent solid choices but it's too difficult to tell what would happen with either of them.